Critical Analysis: Spike Lee

Discussion in 'Entertainment Forum' started by popdisaster00, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. popdisaster00

    Moderator Moderator

    Spike Lee Filmography

    Notable works include:
    Do the Right Thing (1989)
    Jungle Fever (1991)
    Malcolm X (1992)
    He Got Game (1998)
    25th Hour (2002)
    Inside Man (2006)
    Chi-Raq (2015)
     
  2. White

    I long for death. Prestigious

    NBA 2k16 is his magnum opus.
     
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  3. Do The Right thing is one of my favourite movies ever.

    That's all I have to contribute.
     
    Jake Gyllenhaal likes this.
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  5. WordsfromaSong

    Trusted

    just watched Malcolm X last night, a powerful study of an often misunderstood man and his life-long search for peace and equality. Denzel Washington gives one of the best performances of all time
     
  6. OhTheWater

    Let it run Supporter

    25th Hour is a fantastic film
     
  7. thedrudo

    Trusted Prestigious

    Love Spike.

    I'm probably in the minority here but I absolutely love Summer of Sam. Not perfect by any means but I love how ambitious it is.
     
  8. smoke4thecaper

    hold on, let me catch my breath Supporter

    25th Hour and Malcolm X are incredible films. Do the Right Thing remains a significant (and sadly, still relevant) piece of honest filmmaking with a powerful voice. The rest of his works are remarkably hit or miss, with a lot of misplaced or misunderstood commentary & satire. His voice is clear and certainly his own, but he tends to get so self-absorbed into his own shit, that it all feels identical. When he succeeds, he does it well...but when he doesn't, it gets messy.
     
  9. Nathan

    Always do the right thing. Prestigious

    Do the Right Thing is a high watermark in film history. 25th Hour and Inside Man are also top class filmmaking, Lee is such a versatile and really focused filmmaker sometimes, which makes it more interesting when he gets really ambitious and loose, like in Chi-Raq. It's such an absurd, hyper-stylized film, about such a raw and tragic and complicated subject, I kind of admire it a lot for that. It has problems, but was really one of the more interesting films I saw last year and I wish there was more of a conversation around it.

    Malcolm X is also one of the best biopics ever made, it rarely falls into the genre's worst trappings and really digs deep as a work of character driven film. Obviously Denzel is incredible.

    I'd like to revisit his late 80s/early 90s stuff, I remember really liking She's Gotta Have It and School Daze, which I saw in film school, and Jungle Fever and Mo Betta Blues, but I don't really remember any of them that well/I think my mind is in a much different place in terms of sociology/culture/film that I'm curious as to how they'd feel to me now.
     
  10. Expanse

    Newbie

    People talk about SoS like its some disaster when really it's just too many movies stuffed into one.
    And they are all really good.
     
  11. Jake Gyllenhaal

    How does it feel to be in R.E.M.?

    When I was in college I got to see Spike lecture and he talked about how he got into filmmaking after a professor of his encouraged him to film and in the summer of 1977 he started shooting footage of the New York City blackout (the same time period of the Son of Sam murders) so I only assume he made that movie as a tribute to a special time in his life.
     
  12. transrebel59

    Regular

    Came in here to say this about SOS. I love that movie.

    He really should have avoided Oldboy though.
     
  13. popdisaster00

    Moderator Moderator

    25th Hour is easily one of my favorite films. I still haven't seen a handful of his titles, but I can see and respect that he seems to be able to successfully navigate his way through multiple genres.
     
  14. Morrissey

    Trusted

    25th Hour is the best film about September 11th ever made, and it always will be because of how it captured that emotion at that exact moment in time. Anyone who can remember that time of hopelessness and confusion will be moved by the way Lee confronts the trauma without dwelling on it. One scene that particularly highlights the feeling of the city is in the apartment of Monty's friend, who is a successful Wall Street type with an apartment overlooking Ground Zero. When asked if he thought of moving, he defiantly exclaims that Osama bin Laden can knock down every other building around him and he still would not move. It is the kind of thing that will seem corny to people born after the event, but it will always be nakedly emotional.

    Something subtle the film does is repeat shots three times at different angles at intense emotional moments. It makes the situation feel more real, more personal as it zooms in each time. Near the end of the fantasy sequence of Monty's lost life, Naturelle gets off the bus and rushes to embrace him. At first they are shot wide, near the edges of the frame. The second shot zooms in closer, and the third shot is enough for us to see their faces. With the music hitting the right note as the bus pulls away, it becomes an even more damning indictment of both Monty's decision to live a criminal lifestyle and his suspicion of Naturelle for most of the film.

    It should be noted that Spike Lee is arguably the most disrespected master filmmaker in the industry right now. To many, his success is some sort of affirmative action case, ignoring the many classics he has made. Bill Simmons made a very dumb joke about Spike Lee not being relevant in over a decade (Inside Man and Chi-Raq would disagree). He often gets left out of the conversation of the greatest directors because of some of the failures in his career, but very few directors can make the argument they have had no failures. The man has made great films in four different decades and gets no respect for it.
     
  15. aspeedomodel

    Cautiously pessimistic Prestigious

    Loved 25th Hour when I watched it. Been a long time, need to go back.

    Also, I think Inside Man is often overlooked. Great great film.

    Want to see Chi-Raq and need to finish Oldboy.
     
  16. jkauf

    Trusted Supporter

    Big 25th Hour and Inside Man fan.
     
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  17. Vivatoto

    Science is whatever we want it to be Prestigious

    Just watched Inside Man for maybe the 5th time and it's still so damn tense from start to finish.